Monday, April 23, 2018

Ark Encounter’s latest attendance numbers are Ken Ham’s nightmare

By Hemant Mehta
Ark Encounter doesn’t publicly release its attendance numbers. It doesn’t have to. But there’s a conflict between what atheists have reported during their own visits (it’s relatively empty when they’ve gone) and what Ken Ham says when he’s bragging online. He always suggests business is booming. Ham brought in 1.1 million people in the first year of the Ark. Last year, we finally got our first hints about actual attendance numbers, and it was all thanks to an ordinance passed by the city of Williamstown, Kentucky. You may recall that officials called for all ticket-taking attractions in the city to pay a surcharge of $0.50 per ticket as a “Safety Fee” to help pay for fire trucks, police cars, etc. — the very things that make the city a safer place for residents and tourists. Now they’re just sinking.[More]

Today, you can see the NC Museum of Art's new 'You Are Here' exhibit for free

By Jim Diamond
Attendees take in Anila Quayyum Agha's "Intersections," at North Carolina Museum of Art's "You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experiences" media preview on April 4, 2018. Juli Leonard
RALEIGH, NC--The North Carolina Museum of Art's new exhibit is one of the most popular exhibits in a decade. For one day, you can see it for free. On April 23, admission is free to see the exhibit "You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experiences." While the museum is usually closed on Mondays, the exhibit in the East Building will be open from noon until 8 p.m. The exhibit of video, light, and sound installations has drawn crowds. Works are featured by Bill Viola, James Turrell, Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson and Ragnar Kjartansoon. There are also mixed-media installations by artists Anila Quayyum Agha, Soo Sunny Park, Mickalene Thomas and Heather Gordon of Durham.[More]

Sunday, April 22, 2018


By Gregory & Ernest Disney-Britton
Detail of "Lamentation Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted II" (2016) by Kehinde Wiley
Can religious art facilitate more conversations about gender, race, and sex? When we saw Kehinde Wiley’s Lamentations Series this week in a story about stained glass artists, it broke our hearts. It came during an avalanche of conversations about the death of 92-year-old white female, Barbara Bush, and almost none concerning the latest police killing of 26-year-old black male Diante Yarber. This week, we found a number of new shows exploring gender, race, and sex. If you are interested in them too, we recommend, Breaking the Mold in Louisville, KY with Kehinde Wiley; Stanley Spencer’s Love on the Moor in the UK; and Karsang Lama’s Divine Feminine in NYC. We need  these conversations, and that is why Kehinde Wiley’s Lamentations Series is our news of the week.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Study: People are less religious in places with more government

By Jared Gilmour
Pope Francis incenses the altar as he celebrates an Epiphany Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Andrew Medichini AP
Researchers call it an exchange model of religion: If people can get what they need from the government (be it health care, education or welfare) they’re less likely to turn to a divine power for help, according to the theory. But are people actually more likely to drop religion in places where governments provide more services and stability? In a new paper, psychology researchers crunched the numbers — and found that better government services were in fact linked to lower levels of strong religious beliefs. Those findings held true in states across the U.S. and in countries around the world, researchers said. [More]

Where 12th-century graffiti meets contemporary abstract art

By Miriam Diez Bosch
One of the most successful contemporary artists, Sean Scully (Dublin b. 1945), has joined his abstract painting to the regal beauty of Romanesque art in the restoration of the church of Santa Cecilia in Montserrat. There, a Scully Institute of Art and Spirituality has been installed as a restored space that places the Romanesque mural paintings, considered medieval “grafitti,” alongside more contemporary abstract works. Regarding this new enterprise that unites art and spirituality, the Montserrat Museum Director, Father Laplana, said, “Art is an activity of the free man who uses his creative fantasy to express his deepest longings for fulfillment.”[More]/>